GOLDEN DAY FOR CANADA’S
ROBBI WELDON AND LYNE BESSETTE
Geneviève Ouellet and Emilie Roy take fourth place
in nail-biting sprint finish of the Women’s Road Race
(London, GBR – September 8, 2012) It was a golden day for
Canadian Para-Cycling Team at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London,
Great Britain, with the powerful tandem of Robbi Weldon
(Thunder Bay, ON) and Olympian Lyne Bessette (Knowlton,
QC) riding to the gold medal in the Women’s B Road Race, in
front of a delirious crowd.
For the first time at these 2012 Games for cycling events, the Canadian
Anthem was played to the crowd gathered at Brands Hatch to cheer
on the para-cyclists of all nations.
Weldon and Bessette crossed the finish line with a time of 2:08.26,
showing a lead of 34 seconds on their closest competitors and silver
medallists, the tandem from Spain.
“I am very happy. Lyne and I are thrilled about this golden
performance. It’s good to end on a golden note. We had a fantastic
race. Everyone was strong in the peloton. We had respect for everyone,”
said Robbi Weldon, a former cross-country skier turned cyclist after
the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games.
The two tandems, Canada and Spain, separated from the main peloton
in the fifth of eight laps, and they managed to increase their lead
throughout the rest of the race. “Fortunately for us, no one
followed our big attack but Spain. We worked hard non-stop until
the end. Anything can happen with bikes as we saw with the guys
in the time trial [the men tandem punctured with 1 kilometre to
go],” continued Weldon.
“What we wanted to do was to be patient in the early laps,”
added Bessette. “At the mid-point, the goal was to make the
race a little harder if nothing had happened.”
The two fought hard together in the break, and ultimately, Canada’s
golden girls placed an attack on the very last lap, which proved
to be the winning move. "Although they did not have much experience,
the Spanish tandem is very strong, so it was perfect for us. Then,
it was up to me to decide when it was time to attack for the win,”
"We are very happy with this particular medal. We were disappointed
with the time trial so we wanted to take the win today. It ends
well the Games,” said Bessette, who also took the opportunity
to announce her retirement from Para-cycling. “I wanted a
happy ending on this last day. I can leave happy. It was a very
rewarding experience, which grounded me as I worked with exceptional
The Dutch team went on to finish the line in third place, edging
the second Canadian tandem of Geneviève Ouellet
and Émily Roy in a nail-biting finish for
“I'm glad with the fourth position in a race that our teammates
won,” said Geneviève Ouellet. “We gave everything
we had, and it is still surprising for a small tandem like ours,
not very powerful, to finish second in a sprint for the bronze,”
added Ouellet, competing at her second Paralympic Games.
“I'm thinking about my future right now. Currently, there
may be the 2013 World Championships in Baie-Comeau, but it is certain
that I will not go further than that,” admitted Ouellet.
“The two Canadian tandems raced to win today. Today, what
was important was that Canada won. After the excellent attack placed
by Robbi and Lyne in the sixth lap, our role was to answer every
other attacks by other countries. In the final sprint, we were able
to hang on to the wheel of the Netherlands. They were on the podium
throughout the year, so we knew it was a good wheel to follow. In
the end, Canada won the race and that's what matters. It is certain
that we are a little disappointed because we won the chocolate medal
awarded to the fourth place, and we would have liked to return to
Canada with a real medal,” said Roy.
In the men’s tandem race, Canada’s tandem of Daniel
Chalifour and Alexandre Cloutier, the reigning Canadian Champions
in the event, finished their race in ninth spot.
The tandem rode safely within the peloton for the first 88 km of
104km, and unfortunately missed the attack that will eventually
prove to be the winning move.
The road race for the tricycle was also held today. Toronto’s
Shelley Gautier was lapped and did not finish the
race, while Marie-Eve Croteau did not start as
she is still recovering from an injury.
The team relay was also held to end these Paralympic Games. Canada’s
team comprised of Robert Labbé (H1), Mark Beggs (H2) and
Mark Ledo (H3) placed in 5th.